What I Made: Chard Rice Bowl, Barely Pickled Cucumbers, Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Anchovies and Sage, Pork Katsu with Pickled Cucumbers

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This is one of my favorite meals, it’s quick and easy and delicious. It tastes just as good without the chorizo so you vegetarians can make this, too. Just don’t leave out the cumin seeds or the garlic chips, those are the stars of this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup medium- or short-grain white or brown rice (I prefer brown but only had white — brown tastes better with this recipe)
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 fresh (uncured) chorizo sausages, casings removed, meat formed into patties OR smoked chorizo OR cured chorizo — I’ve yet to find a combo that doesn’t work
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, as needed

Preparation: 

  1. In a medium pot, combine rice with 2 1/3 cups lightly salted water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook until rice is tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand off the heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Toss in 1 tablespoon butter and salt to taste. Alternatively, cook rice in a rice cooker.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves into 2-inch pieces and the stems into 1/2-inch lengths.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Toast cumin seeds in the dry pan until they are fragrant and slightly darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour cumin onto a plate to stop the cooking.
  4. If using uncured chorizo, add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, let it heat for a few seconds, then add chorizo patties and cook until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet, then add garlic. Cook until golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  6. Add chard stems and a large pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook until stems are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add chard leaves, another pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Cook until leaves are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Toss chard with rice, toasted cumin, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Barely Pickled Cucumbers:

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Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers
  • water
  • salt
  • coriander seeds
  • pepper seeds
  • smashed garlic
  • fresh dill

Preparation:

  1. Cut cucumbers into spears and place spears into jars.
  2. Fill jars with water; pour that water out into a cup and weigh.
  3. Add 5% of the water’s weight in salt to the water and transfer to a pot, heat along with coriander, pepper and garlic until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. Once brine is cooled, add fresh dill and pour over cucumber spears.
  5. Close lids and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Anchovies and Sage

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced, about 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh summer savory or marjoram
  • 1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes, in halves or quarters
  • 1 pound fresh pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
  • Handful of torn sage leaves

Preparation:

  1. Put red onion in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add anchovies, garlic, red pepper and vinegar. Stir in olive oil and savory. Add the cherry tomatoes, season with salt, and toss well to coat. Keep mixture cool (or refrigerate) for up to 3 hours.
  2. Boil pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until al dente, then drain and transfer to a wide low pasta bowl. Add cherry tomato mixture and toss well to coat. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve at room temperature, garnished with sage.

Pork Katsu with Pickled Cucumbers:

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This worked really well for me since I also have our fantastic meat share (ps that’s where I got the chorizo above, too) and their boneless pork chops were PERFECT for this meal. YUM!!!

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound small Kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, more for seasoning
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons sugar
  • 8 thin slices boneless pork medallions or center-cut pork chops (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • ½ cup flour
  • Black pepper
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shiso or basil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil

Preparation:

  1. Place the cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl. Toss them with 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon sugar.
  2. Place each piece of pork between sheets of waxed paper. Pound meat to 1/8-inch thickness.
  3. Place eggs in a large shallow bowl; whisk in the Worcestershire and tomato paste. Place the panko and flour in two separate shallow bowls.
  4. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Dip each cutlet in the flour (tap off excess), the egg mixture (ditto), then dredge in panko crumbs.
  5. Heat a large pan, pour in 1/8 inch of oil and heat for 30 seconds. Working in batches, put cutlets in the pan. Immediately shake and tilt it so the oil rolls over the pork in waves (this will give it a lighter, crisper crust). Shake the pan occasionally, until cutlets are golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip them and shake again. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer pork to a paper-towel-lined platter to drain.
  6. Pat the cucumbers dry with paper towels. Toss with scallions, vinegar, shiso, soy sauce, sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Serve cutlets with pickled cucumbers on the side.
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